The possibility of a shutdown of the U.S. federal government and new concerns over the financial health of retailer JCPenney—the largest retail tenant in the commercial mortgage-backed securities universe—have stunted trading in the CMBS secondary mart and also caused a price drop in the CMBX.6 synthetic index. “People are very focused on these macro factors,” explained a trader at a New York-based broker-dealer.

By midday, there were just....

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